H¶i ViŒt
VietnameseAmericanCouncil

Excerpt of the Binh Ngo Dai Cao (Proclamation following a victory over the Chinese)
Translated by Chi D. Nguyen of Viettouch

"… A short time ago, because of the over-vexatious Ho's administration, our feelings were filled up with
discontent.Throngs of mad dogs that are the Ming watched over us and profited from the situation to do harm
to our people. Bands of rebels and traitors also took advantage of the occasion to sell our country. Our people
were burnt alive in cruel furnaces; inhabitants were unjustly shoved into deep wells. They thwarted Heaven
and bore down the population; they schemed demoniacal tricks under ten thousand forms. Then, they incurred
warfare and, for almost twenty years, calamities succeeded calamities. They had lost all human sentiment
- even Heaven and Earth aspired to a respite; Taxes were heavy and collections frequent, mountains and rivers
had nothing left to yield. In order to exploit gold mines, one had to confront pestilential vapors of high regions,
and to cut through mountains and screen sands. To find brilliant pearls, one had to rout marine monsters, gird up
one's loins and plunge into deep sea. They molested our people by urging it to dig ditches to catch black roebucks;
they annihilated- the beasts in setting traps and nets to catch kingfishers. Even insects and plants do not have the
satisfaction of lawns in peace. Widowers and widows, wretched and badly off people could not find a peaceful
home. They bleeded the people living body white to fatten their tyrannical mouths. They pushed to the extreme,
wood and earth works to embellish their public buildings and their private houses. In hamlets, fatigue tasks were overwhelming and toilsome; in villages, people forsook the weaving-loom. Should one drain the Oriental Sea
water, one still could not wash traces of their ignominy; should one take all bamboo of Meridional Mountains,
one still could not transcribe all their crimes. Geniuses themselves grew angry, Heaven and Earth could not show
themselves lenient…"

    Nguyen Trai (14th century)

 

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